Eat or Skip - Snacks

We always have mixed opinions when it comes to snacking. Should you do it or not? Some believe it is healthy, however, many others think that snacking is a quick route to weight gain. But first, let’s see what counts as snacking, and is there a need for it?

What is snacking?

Snacking is when you consume small portions of processed foods between your three most important meals for every day i.e Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. We tend to eat processed foods which are calorie dense, like chips, burgers, and aerated drinks due to their easy availability. This usually occurs around the evening where you might have a tendency to binge on unhealthy snacks. Here, hunger becomes the main motivation behind snacking. 

As per one survey, when people with obesity or overweight were asked why they choose healthy snacks the most common answer was it is because of temptation followed by hunger and low energy levels.

Does eating regular snacks and small meals help in boosting metabolism?

One study did a comparison where a one group consumed 2-3 meals a day and the other group consumed 5 meals. This went on for 3 weeks, however, the results remained the same. An important factor to note is if you have been following a similar pattern of 3-5 meals a day, try to reduce the number of calories while keeping the same amount of meals to observe weight loss.

Does Protein help to increase metabolism?

In many cases, yes, protein does help in increasing metabolism. One study showed that active men who ate a high protein or low carbohydrate snack before sleeping showed an increase in their metabolic rate, thus helping to lose weight faster.

Does snacking reduce blood sugar levels?

There was a study in which people with type 2 diabetes found that eating only two large meals per day resulted in lower fasting blood sugar levels, better insulin sensitivity, and greater weight loss than eating six times per day. 

Salad, Figs, Cheese, Goat Cheese, Starter, Food

Can it prevent you to binge in your lunch and dinners?

Yes, definitely! If you snack on fruits after your breakfast, and a handful of nuts and almonds in the evening, you tend to eat less for the following meals. Additionally, you get all the benefits of micronutrients. Thus, snacking can help keep your hunger levels balanced, especially on those days when your meals are spaced apart. So let’s have a look at how you can snack in a healthy way.

Tips for healthy snacking

  • Amount to eat: In general, it is best to eat snacks that provide about 200 calories and at least 7-10 grams of protein to help you stay full until your next meal. 
  • Frequency: Your number of snacks varies based on your activity level and everyday meal intake. If you are very active, you may prefer 2–3 snacks a day, while sedentary people may do best with one snack a day.
  • Portability: Keep portable snacks with you when you are out doing errands or traveling, in case hunger strikes you. So if you are working, you can pack your snack so that you do not tend to choose unhealthy options.

Here are a few healthy snack options:

  1. Roasted fox nuts or roasted chickpeas.
  2. Mixed nuts like pistachio nut, almond, walnuts or mixed nuts like pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower, chia seeds.
  3. Vegetable juice or Buttermilk.
  4. Vegetable paneer/tofu salad.
  5. Baked beetroot chips with mixed nuts.

Bottom Line

Snacking can be good in some cases, such as for preventing hunger in people who tend to overeat. However, others may do better eating three or fewer meals per day.

In the end, it comes down to you as everyone is built differently. However, if you choose to snack, then ensure you eat a small meal and choose healthy foods.

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24134077/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1905998/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23768612/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24838678/

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